Sweet Spot or Traditional Base - not racing, want to be fit in March/April

The traditional base vs sweet spot question has been posed many times, but I’m hoping to get a few answers or least a discussion that’s suited to my particular situation.
I do not race and am also not planning to train for any other specific events.
My goal over the winter is to just train so that I’m as fit as possibly when the outside season (starting around April here in Germany, possibly with a trip to Mallorca in March) starts.

I’ve started a plan that was suggested by plan builder a few weeks ago, I just completed week 3. From last spring to 3 weeks ago my FTP improved from around 240W to 264W and I have been able to complete all workouts so far. The over/unders are always incredibly hard, but I haven’t had to bail out yet - but I did decrease intensity to 98% on the last two weekend workouts.

I find the intensity/Training load very high at the moment, some workouts I feel totally destroyed after and am barely able to move the rest of the day.

So I’m wondering, if this is something that I can/want to sustain for the next 6 months…or if I’d be better of doing traditional base (that’s Zone 2 rides, right?) until about December and then start over with the training plan in January.
This was suggested by the owner of my gym, who is also a fitness coach and has a history in cycling - but his approach may be old fashioned which is why I’d like to ask you guys aswell :slight_smile:

I’m no coach but you could always try dropping your ftp number so that you dont finish weekend workouts absolutely shattered.Not everyone gets a good accurate number from a ramp test.

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This just happens sometimes - this past weekends I felt quite fine (well, I’m supposed to be exhausted, right?). I actually feel that the ramp test FTP estimate is quite spot on, at least according to how the workouts themselves feel and how I’m able to perform them.

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Sweetspot workouts are meant to be manageable and shouldn’t leave you exhausted. Even over unders shouldn’t leave you exhausted as they are meant to be around your ftp number, which “in theory” you can hold for 1 hour.

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If you have enough time to train, especially during the week, Traditional Base is definitely worth a try to see how you react to that type of training and considering that you are six months away from your actual season.

However TB is not only Z2, take a look at the TR plans and you’ll see that there is a nice progression from Z2, Z2 + Z3 and SS/Threshold in the end.

Also, if you haven’t done that already, give a read to the TB vs SS Thread. There is a lot of information that you can apply to your training even though you may not find exactly your situation.


Thanks guys,
I think I might give Traditional Base a shot until Christmas. But I want to complete this week the last hard week of SSB1 MV, do the recovery week next week followed by an FTP test and then the TB LV.
However, is it even worth it when doing Low Volume?

My plan would be to do Traditional Base 3x/week an 2x gym per week.
However, especially in the evenings during the week, 90 minutes would be the absolute maximum and I’d prefer 60 minutes. Does it then make even sense to do Traditional!?

If you are left destroyed by any of SSB1 workout I suppose that your FTP is overestimated by the ramp test. These workouts are pretty easy and suppose to be introduction to the training. Even O/U - you suppose to recover during unders are they are 95% of FTP. Maybe your ability to clear lactate is not sufficient but looking at the forum and number of people that struggle I would point out at FTP.

The problem with TR is that the intervals with sweet spot workouts are so short and with a such long brakes that with even overestimated FTP when they become a threshold they are doable. You have never should be destroyed by SST especially when total TiZ is so short.

You could try traditional base part 2 and 3 (part one is so horrible and boring that you will be probably discouraged from the training).


IMHO Traditional Base LV isn’t worth doing unless you are a complete beginner and, since you are doing SSB MV, I don’t think you are.

That’s why I said that you need to have enough time during the week, which for TBMV is a minimum of 90 minutes that quickly becomes 105/120, if I’m not mistaken.

Then on the weekends you could do longer workouts, even from the HV plan, but it wouldn’t make sense without the “long” weekly workouts.

So, given your time restrictions I would stick with SSB MV, switch the Sundays workouts to the Z2 alternatives (as suggested in the plan weekly tips) and if you have extra time just extend the cooldowns and do some Z2.

Thanks, I also had a similar idea:
Stick to the SSB workouts during the week (that’ll be Sweet Spot workouts on Tuesday and Thursday; I swap the easier workout on Wednesday for a gym session).
And then do the workouts from the TB MV plan on the weekends (Sat + Sun)?

If you look at the weekly info section it shows you the TR recommended sunday “endurance” workout.

I’m not a coach, so personally I can’t give you too much advice outside TR plans.

Nonetheless, mixing plans like that could work and you should find posts from other people on the forum that tried that.

Also, if you keep doing SSB, @jarsson is right.

O/U shouldn’t be incredibly hard and you shouldn’t be destroyed after SSB workouts, given that you eat enough both before and after and that you get a good amount of sleep.

Considering your big jump in FTP and that the Ramp Test can overestimate, that could be the cause and you could try to reduce your FTP and see how the subsequent workouts feel.

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Same goals as you, not a racer just want to be faster in the spring to enjoy the outdoors more and go further and faster. I’ve done SSB1+2 and General Build MV for the last 2 years and saw good results: 268-290w year 1, 300-310w year 2.

This year after some deliberation I’m going to try traditional base or a few reasons. This will be my 3rd year training but 6th year cycling, and I want long term gains and not shorter term. Some have said that SSB builds quicker and you lose gains quicker. Others have said volume > intensity. There’s different theories to this, but I’m going to try TB because I figured doing 8-10 hours a week for 20-24 weeks definitely won’t hurt, and there’s more intensity in the later weeks of the plan. Being able to do more hours should lead to more fitness anyways, and I’m certainly not expecting to regress from where I am now by the end of the plan, though I’m ready for an FTP drop after TB1 potentially. I’m willing to invest into the future


I’m training for a 130-mile very mountainous Gran Fondo next Summer and just started a Maffetone-ish TBMV double Block I (2xWk-1, 2xWk-2, etc…), followed by a double Block II and single Block III for total of 20 weeks TBMV. By using MAF HR as limiter, I’m still dropping FTP until HR plateau’s at MAF range. (embarrassingly so, if my HR doesn’t slow down soon I’ll be grading myself in Kg’s per Watt). But it is what it is and discipline to the program is more important than my fragile ego. I don’t plan on any additional riding…if I do they’ll be a substitute for a workout. Otherwise, I’m doing a couple days strength/flexibility and paddling (OC1) at MAF pace on days off the bike.

My goal is to build a really strong Diesel engine, as I’ve always trained hard and never focused on relaxed Base for long… SSB gets me strong quickly but always feels more intense than Base training. If I can complete this TB phase without flaking out, I’ll then roll into an SSB I & II and on to Build & Spec. finishing just in time for a 130-mile arse whoopin’.

I’m really looking forward to relaxed TB. The workouts are long but serene. I read a bit, watch some TV, listen to tunes/books/podcasts, do some emails and drink lots and eat sensibly, and often just zone out and focus on breathing…it’s really quite enjoyable and I don’t feel smoked at the end. I attribute that more to the MAF regulating the intensity than would a Ramp Test generated FTP. It will be interesting to see where my FTP is when I test for the SSB block in January. I’m not doing any FTP tests for the entire 20-week TB phase as FTP is a metric dependent on MAF HR. If all goes well and I adapt similar to case studies I’ve read about, I hope to do the SSB with much lower HR than I’m used to…we’ll see.

…and just a short plug for rocker plates…while I do have rollers and will do some TB rides on them, I bought a Saris MP1 this Summer…I would never last long enough needed to do these TB rides on a trainer (KICKR) without it…was not cheap, but for my backside it was worth every penny!

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I’m in the opposite time zone to you. I smashed myself inside using TR over the winter here in Australia and now we are headed into spring I’m slowing down my indoor sessions down to 2 a week and riding more outside. Rode the local route yesterday and averaged wayyyyyy higher watts and average speed than I did 6-8 months ago. Felt like a completely different rider!

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Did you follow a sweetspot or Traditional Base plan?

I did the first half of General Build to start off with as I already had a solid base leading into Winter. I then did a mixture of both - a couple of Sweet Spot sessions a week (3x15, 3x20, 3x25 progression as the block went on etc.) and threw in 2-3 long endurance rides as well (Ptarmigan is a good one).

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I read a bit into Sweet Spot Progression and came up with the following training plan.
I’d like to combine sweet spot work with a bit of traditional base on the weekends - during the week I just won’t be able (or want to) commit to such long workouts for Traditional Base Workouts to make sense during the week.
So I thought it might make sense to progress with Sweet Spot work during the week and do Traditional Base workouts during the weekends.

I’ll start with it after recovery week next week. I’ll do the first few Sweet Spot Workouts at 85% of FTP (just haven’t found a way to rename the workouts in the calendar).

What do you think?


Your last 2 weeks are a regression in terms of TiZ and weekly TSS, although the actual intervals are longer.

Maybe put the week 4 SST sessions in week 3 (the 2x 25m) and try 3x 20 in week 4.

It would then go.

Or keep as is and put a bit of endurance on the sst sessions, +15 minutes at the end in week 3 and 4.

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Thanks for pointing that out!

I adjusted my plan and now it looks like this:

What would you then recommen after? Start over with SSB1 MV -> SSB2 MV -> Build?

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